Furnace Maintenance Tips for Sioux Falls Homeowners
Your furnace works hard in the winter to keep you and your family warm. In fact, it works so hard that we heating professionals refer to winter as “peak season” for a breakdown – and that spells trouble for your sense of comfort. Fortunately, if you live in the Sioux Falls region, there are multiple steps you can take to help your furnace run efficiently all winter long. To get started, shut off the power to your heating system and start getting to know the core components a little better!
If you notice a gas smell at any point in the process, exit the house immediately and contact your local fire department as well as the gas utility company. They’ll make sure your home is safe to enter after it’s been checked for possible gas leaks.
STEP 1 – CHECK THE FURNACE’S AIR FILTER
Your HVAC system’s air filter can be found in the furnace, or in the duct work right beside the furnace. As the furnace blower runs, all of the air in your home is forced to pass through the filter, trapping and holding on to dust and contaminants. Over time, these particles will eventually clog the filter up. To keep your furnace running efficiently, you’ll need to keep an eye on your filter and replace it before it’s completely plugged. In fact, this task is a key part of routine furnace maintenance.
Once you locate the filter, slide the filter out and take a close look. If the furnace and air filter have been doing their jobs correctly, you’ll probably see dirt and other debris caught in the filter. A dirty furnace air filter will reduce airflow and compromise the HVAC system’s reliability. In severe cases it can even cause premature equipment failure, forcing you to look for furnace installation. To avoid this, clean or change out the filter on a regular basis. The ideal frequency may depend on the model of the filter itself as well as the conditions in your home. In general, you should replace a 1” air filter every 1-2 months. To judge how dirty it really is, hold it up to a source of light and see how much light is passing through it. You can compare that to a new one to get a good idea of how much life is left.
STEP 2 – CLEAN THE BLOWER ASSEMBLY
No matter how effective your furnace air filter is at capturing airborne particles, some will get through. Eventually, this debris will collect on the blower assembly and vent openings. Just like with a clogged air filter, this can reduce circulation and force your HVAC system to work harder. Not to worry, because the blower assembly can be cleaned. This is probably a job best left to a professional, but if you choose to clean it yourself, the blower assembly can usually be slid out once unwired. If you are using a good filter and changing it as needed, this should not be required every year.
STEP 3 – CONDENSATE REMOVAL
A properly running, high efficiency furnace produces a lot of excess moisture (water) that needs to be directed away from the secondary heat exchanger to the drainage system. To accomplish this, all manufacturers implement a series of drain lines and condensate collecting components. Over time these can also get plugged with debris and affect operation. These components need to be flushed annually to ensure water can flow freely as intended.
A couple of other failure points that need to be inspected and corrected while performing maintenance include the ignitor and the flame sensor. While these components are not hard to replace and maintain, it’s best to confirm whether they need to be replaced with a multimeter as well as a visual inspection. While onsite, our technician will check the flame signal and make sure that the ignitor lasts through the winter. If these parts are expected to fail, they will discuss how you want to proceed. Both are inexpensive and routine repairs that ensure reliability all winter.
These Steps Protect Your Furnace
Whether you perform these tasks yourself or trust our certified technicians to handle things, these steps ensure your furnace won’t have to work around the clock in order to provide enough heat for a comfortable home.
Call or text Howe at 605-339-2020 for comprehensive inspection and maintenance support for your furnace. We’ll be glad to schedule a visit with one of our certified furnace technicians.